The term medical malpractice broadly describes any actions by a licensed medical professional that deviate from established standards. Diagnostic errors and the failure to diagnose someone are among the most common types of medical malpractice in the United States.
When you go to see a physician and explain to them your recent experience, you trust that they will listen to you and then use the information that you provide to determine the cause of your symptoms and the best treatment options. Unfortunately, many people leave medical appointments without an accurate diagnosis and feeling like their doctor didn’t listen to them. Often, those patients may actually be right.
Doctors in office settings don’t have time to listen
People think of doctors as professionals who are in high wages for minimal work, especially if they work office hours in a family practice. What people fail to understand is that doctors at a medical office are employees who are likely subject to very strict productivity rules.
Doctors often juggle dozens of appointments a day, typically meeting with multiple patients every hour. That means they do not have very much time to review any individual case or to spend with a specific patient. Researchers have found that doctors often jump to conclusions early in appointments with patients.
In fact, the average physician only listens to a patient for roughly 11 seconds before interrupting or reaching a conclusion about the cause of their symptoms. All too often, doctors cut someone off before they fully explain the situation or they ignore details that may have led to an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor may rush off to their next appointment and completely forget about you, while you have to cope with your ongoing symptoms.
Can you protect yourself from overworked doctors?
The way the current medical industry operates almost guarantees that the professionals caring for you will feel rushed, stressed and overworked. You must be your own advocate in such situations if you don’t want to fall victim to medical malpractice like hundreds of thousands of other Americans do every year.
Many patient advocates recommend keeping written notes describing your symptoms, as well as a list of specific questions you need to ask during your appointment. Taking those written notes with you can help avoid a situation where a doctor glasses over important details or confuses a patient and therefore prevents them from asking specific questions or providing crucial details.
If you have already experienced some kind of adverse medical outcome because a doctor didn’t properly diagnose you, then you may need to consider filing a malpractice claim. Seeking compensation can both reimburse you for the harm you suffered while also hopefully prompting changes that will prevent future medical malpractice scenarios at the same office.